Guest Speaker Video Interviews:
Mayor Harold Perrin & Dr. Charles Welch, Arkansas State University System President
PICTURES, VIDEOS, AND INTERVIEWS
Supporter & Sponsor Interview
Dr. Susan Hanrahan: Dean
Arkansas State University
College of Nursing & Health Professions
What got you involved with this program and how long have you been a part of it?
Pat Qualls made me aware of what she wanted to do. I thought it was an excellent idea. I have been involved from the start. I have been amazed at Pat's ability to coordinate and pull this event off annually without a hitch.
What does this program mean to you?
My background is in physical therapy. Our goal with patients is always to move them to their highest level of functioning. The individuals that participate in this program don't often have an opportunity to demonstrate their special talents and abilities center stage. It really is a chance to show how very "special" they are.
Are you excited to see this program further grow and expand?
I am not sure it can get much bigger or longer. The program is very diversified and the performances themselves often bring one to tears even if you don't have a family member on stage. It is a very emotional and uplifting night. Families are quite proud as are the performers themselves. It is the best annual event in the region.
2018 Musicians & Dancers Interviews
The Thrillin' Three
Overcomers' Choir Interviews
Sara Silas Interview
Sara Silas is 17 years old and is an 11th grader at Valley View. She says that she really enjoys singing and has been doing it from a very young age. She also says that one of her biggest inspirations is Selena Gomez. She has always loved to sing and began taking lessons with Mrs. Julia Lansford. This is her first year to participate in the program and she is very excited to be taking part in it.
What made you decide to play the trumpet?
Mr. Brinkle came to the Middle School and talked about band. He was interested ever since.
What was your biggest Struggle?
Learning how to use and play the trumpet.
How long have you been a part of this program?
This is his first year.
How much time do you spend practicing?
He spends 3 hours some in the morning and afternoon.
Chris says that you can play any instrument if you just go for it.
Chris' mom: She says she is impressed with the program and all that goes into it. They help each person around their deficits. Every one is positive and supportive. They know how to help the kids. They have helped Chris to believe in himself, while also making him a better trumpet player.
Joey has been involved with this program for 5 years. He took choir at Jonesboro High School. His teacher and his classmates made him feel very comfortable. A girl in his class introduced him to Mrs. Pat and later he became involved in the program. He had no problems learning because of his amazing memory. He likes to practice a lot especially with the Stafford Brothers and his favorite songs are “You’ve Got a Friend in Me and “Do You Believe in Magic.” Joey loves talking about the program and it is his favorite day of the year. His favorite part is performing with TRIPP band and taking pictures and eating snacks at the end!
Little Light of Mine Dancers
How long have you been involved in The Role of Music in the Lives of Special Needs Children and Adults and how did you hear about it?
2018 marks the 4th year Light of Grace has danced in the Concert. I read about it in a Southern Baptist Convention magazine.
When did you start the Light of Grace Liturgical Dancers group and what inspired you to do so?
Little Light of Mine has been an actual program for adults with special needs for 47 years in Georgia. We are the oldest such ministry of it's kind. I brought my daughter, Elena, to the program 10 years ago, and together we created the Light of Grace liturgical dance team program. Elena was born with multiple birth defects and given very little hope of survival. We (as her parents) made the decision to not tell her of the prognosis, and instead we always searched for new and challenging possibilities for her.
Can you tell a little about the group and what all you guys do?
We hold dance practice twice a week. Anyone with any kind of special need may join us. All are welcome. I believe dance and music hold the key to a much better life for everyone in the group. We challenge the brain and body to work together. We work on social skills - listening skills - being respectful of each other - and knowing the reason we dance and sing. Our focus is always on God alone. Not only do we have social outings and lots of fun, we also perform 6 community performances each year, as well as the very big production of "The Christmas Story". Hundreds attend and tears freely flow.
What does this group mean to you and to those who are involved?
I started this ministry for my daughter's sake. She wanted to dance, dance, dance! I am not a dancer but I was willing to help make her dreams come true. Elena takes regular ballet classes weekly and has become quite graceful and accomplished. She has also learned to choreograph original dances for the entire group. Every person in this group never thought they would be dancing in public for so many people. They absolutely love every minute of the productions and the rehearsals. We have also been able to put together a wonderful staff of volunteer teachers.
What are some of your fondest memories that your group or this program has brought you?
Oh, this is so hard. There are hundreds and hundreds of wonderful memories. I have watched all of them blossom and bloom over the years. This year for "The Christmas Story" two of our dance team members were soloists ... and they were amazing! Also, in 2017 we added learning to play the chimes (prelude to playing hand bells). They stood up on a very big stage and played "Away in a Manger" and then "Silent Night" with no music in front of them (they can't read anyway). Their teacher has developed a system of hand signals so that by focusing (a very big issue for a person with special needs) on him they know when to ring their chime.